CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 11, 2012 |
State authorities are investigating whether the head of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum illegally sought a job with USC even as he was responsible for protecting taxpayers in talks to surrender control of the stadium to the university. The probe is focused on whether Coliseum Interim General Manager John Sandbrook violated conflict of interest laws while negotiating a proposed lease to give USC stewardship of the public venue for at least 42 years, said Gary Winuk, enforcement chief at the Fair Political Practices Commission.
May 6, 2012
Los Angeles city government must cut its expenses with two distinct but related goals in mind: It must slash deeply to ensure that the coming year's budget is balanced and includes a responsible reserve fund; and it must restructure so that when fiscal times are better, City Hall is left not merely leaner but also more focused on core functions. The first goal could be accomplished through equal slashing across departments, but the second requires budgeters and policymakers to take a breath, think things through and recalculate as necessary.
April 26, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — The government's watchdog for the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program disputed suggestions the bailout fund would turn a profit for taxpayers and warned that many small banks are still struggling to repay. "It is a widely held misconception that TARP will make a profit," said a report by Christy Romero, the special inspector general for TARP. The Obama administration has said TARP has turned a profit on about $205 billion injected into banks, but still projects losses for the entire fund.
April 25, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- The government's watchdog for the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program on Wednesday disputed suggestions the bailout fund would turn a profit for taxpayers, and warned that many small banks are still struggling to repay. "It is a widely held misconception that TARP will make a profit," said a report by Christy Romero, the special inspector general for the TARP program, known as SIGTARP. The Obama administration has said TARP has turned a profit on about $205 billion injected into banks, but still projects losses for the entire fund.
April 21, 2012 |
The nation's top consumer watchdog is investigating one of the largest Buy Here Pay Here used car chains, the latest in a rising tide of scrutiny of the little-known industry. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a subpoena seeking information and business documents from DriveTime Automotive Group in Phoenix, according to a regulatory filing this week. DriveTime, with 90 dealerships nationwide, is the first Buy Here Pay Here company to be investigated by the federal agency that was created in 2010 as part of the overhaul of financial regulations.
April 19, 2012 |
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is demanding that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission release the complete report on its Google Street View investigation. The Washington advocacy group has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see the full 25-page report . The version that the FCC released last Friday was heavily redacted. The FCC has proposed imposing a $25,000 fine on Google for stonewalling its investigators about how its street-mapping service collected and stored personal data including names, email addresses, text messages and passwords from unprotected wireless networks.
April 18, 2012 |
Lenders who discriminate on the basis of certain demographics when dealing with auto loans, mortgages, credit cards, student loans and more are now in the cross hairs of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The watchdog declared war Wednesday against unfair lending practices that price out, reject or otherwise put certain consumers at a disadvantage. Even lenders who don't intend to be biased but whose policies end up cutting off certain portions of the population - known as disparate impact - will be taken down, bureau officials said.
April 17, 2012 |
SAN FRANCISCO — Privacy watchdogs are urging the nation's top law enforcer to launch a new investigation into Google Inc. after the Federal Communications Commission did not find evidence that the Mountain View, Calif., company broke eavesdropping laws in collecting Internet data from millions of unknowing U.S. households. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, the Washington advocacy group that filed the original complaint with the FCC over Google's controversial data-collection practices, sent a letter Monday to U.S. Atty.
April 13, 2012 |
The Obama administration's consumer financial watchdog wants to undo a limit on some upfront fees on credit cards, prompting criticism that it could hurt borrowers with poor credit. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is backing away from restrictions on what the industry calls fee-harvester cards. Issuers of these cards make such customers pay a large fee before they can receive cards with very low credit lines. The agency indicated that its decision stemmed from a court ruling saying the fee cap appeared to be barred by "plain and unambiguous" language in the applicable law. Lobbyists and the public have until June 11 to file comments or objections before a final decision is made.
March 30, 2012 |
A sweeping investigation into three Chinese factories that produce Apple Inc. products found "significant issues" with working conditions, including excessive overtime and health and safety risks. An industry-funded labor watchdog group, the Fair Labor Assn., said Thursday that it had conducted a thorough inspection of the factories operated by Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple and other tech companies. The group said it had secured "groundbreaking commitments" that will reduce working hours, improve conditions and establish a voice for workers.